Falling for a third straight session, the benchmark BSE Sensex on Wednesday slipped by 262 points to close at a 21-month low of 23,758.90 as banks and realty sectors witnessed heavy selling pressure amid weak global cues.
Country’s biggest lender SBI fell by 4.82% to Rs 158.95 ahead of its financial results, while banks-based index on BSE slipped by more than 2%.
The BSE Sensex after opening lower at 23,938.32 continued to slide on selling in blue-chips, forcing the index to touch a low of 23,636.72 before settling at 23,758.90, showing a loss of 262.08 points or 1.09%.
This was index’s weakest closing since May 12, 2014.
The 50-share NSE Nifty tumbled 82.50 points or 1.13% to close at 7,215.70 after touching a low of 7,177.75.
As many as 23 Sensex stocks closed with losses, including Tata Motors, Adani Ports, HDFC, Cipla, BHEL, Dr Reddy’s, Lupin, ONGC, Axis Bank, Hero MotoCorp and ITC.
However, Coal India, L&T, Maruti, RIL, M&M, Infosys and Tata steel ended in green.
Among BSE sectoral indices, realty suffered the most at 3.46% followed by banking (2.04%), PSU (1.90%), healthcare (1.55%), FMCG (1.37%), auto (1.18%) oils&gas (0.75%) and power (0.67%).
The broader markets also performed weak with the BSE small-cap index falling 1.42% and mid-cap down 0.95%.
Weak quarterly earnings of key corporates, global economic growth prospects and continued selling pressure by foreign portfolio investors, dampened the sentiment.
In overseas markets, most Asian markets plunged, tracking overnight sell-off in the US after oil prices tanked again on fears of a deepening economic slowdown.
Japan’s Nikkei crashed 2.31% while Chinese and Hong Kong markets remained closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.
The US dollar ended modestly lower against the rupee at 67.85/86 per dollar but the Pound
Sterling finished firm at Rs 98.46/48 per pound at the close of the Interbank Foreign Exchange market on Wednesday.